Newsletter

June 28, 2019 – Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Dear Friends of MMJMJ,

Blessed feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus!

We hope that this newsletter finds you and your families well, and that you are enjoying the summer as we approach the month of July.

This feast is very special for obvious reasons as concerns our Monastery, which has taken its name from the most Sacred Heart of our Savior. Years ago, when we were looking for land on which to build the Monastery, we asked our Lord in prayer, “Where do you want us to build it?” He responded: “In my Sacred Heart.”

God wants us Monks, and He wants all of you, our dear friends, above all to make your dwelling in the Most Sacred Heart of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He wants each of us to trust fully in His mercy, to rest in His goodness – to allow Him to bless us, raise us, parent us as His dearly beloved children, and to pour out His abundant riches of grace upon us. This is what He meant when He cried out, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

In this age where many do not know the love of our Heavenly Father, and are living “scattered and weary” lives, God wants us to know the depth of His mercy, which we discover in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, out of which flowed blood and water on the cross. In knowing and receiving this abundant mercy, we are then able to invite others into this eternally blessed relationship with our heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ. People will know it by the peace and joy on our faces! Let us, dear friends, consecrate ourselves anew to this most Sacred Heart:

“Most Sacred Heart of Jesus! I adore you; I offer to you all that I am and all that I possess; I consecrate to you my soul with its faculties, my body with all its senses, my heart with all its affections, desiring in all things to honor, love, and glorify you; in thanksgiving for the numberless benefits that I have received from you, especially in the Holy Eucharist; in atonement for my own sins as well as in reparation for all the offenses that are committed against you in the sacrament of your love, and, finally, in humble supplication, that I may henceforth be faithful to you, that I may please you in thought, word, and deed, that I may suffer in patience and in perfect resignation to your holy will, that I may become like to you in meekness and humility, that I may persevere in your love and your grace to the end of my life, and that I may praise you and bless you with the saints and angels in eternity. I make this offering to you, Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, my dearest Mother. Amen”

Know always that we have you in our prayers, as, united with Mary and her Immaculate Heart, we hold you in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. God bless all of you and your families.

The Monks of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph+
 

Easter Sunday – April 21st, 2019

 

Dear Friends of MMJMJ,

 

Conformed to a death like His, we shall be conformed to a life like His…

 

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

 

This exclamation by St. Paul is the cry of gratitude arising from a soul who realizes the gift of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and what it means for us. We are all called to know intimately this reality in our hearts and in our lives. It is our very hope, our very joy! It is the life of union with Christ that saves us and brings vibrant life to our souls. And so our hearts overflow with gratitude - “thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

 

What does this mean lived out? It means for us, dear friends, that we are no longer our own – we are His! We seek to do His will – and as we seek to do it, we experience the life, death, and resurrection of life in all that we do. Sometimes we experience joy – this is what Christ lived His whole life, in His relationship to the Father. Sometimes we experience desolation and sorrow – Christ experienced this in His agony in the garden. And through it all, we experience Christ’s intimacy with the Father, though perhaps not on an emotional level all the time. This is the life of heaven, which Christ has won for us through His life, death, and resurrection – and He lives it repeatedly in our baptismal lives, through all that we experience.

 

This is the gift – our union with Jesus Christ in everything, which is our salvation. He lives His relationship to the Father within us, and through, with, and in Him, we live, move, and have our being. This is the tremendous gift, the all-surpassing love of the Father to us who were lost and blind in our sins. Now that we’ve been united to Christ in His death, we shall certainly live through Him in His glorious resurrected life.

 

Dear friends, we can be certain that if we truly saw the beauty and glory of the eternal life to which we’ve been called, we would, as young St. Jacinta said, “do everything to change our lives.” St. Paul tells us, after proclaiming His vision of the Resurrected Lord, that no price was too dear for Him – He counted all things as rubbish compared to knowing Jesus. This is what is offered to us! Let us ask our Blessed Mother, whom we rejoice with in this blessed season of Easter, to open our eyes to what God has given us in Christ, that we may live it more deeply and gratefully through our lives.

 

As always, dear friends, be assured of our prayers for you and your families. We bring you to the altar daily, asking our Lord to strengthen, bless, and draw you nearer to Him. May He be your joy and your glory this Easter, and may this joy overflow in you through all seasons. God be with you.

 

Christ is risen – truly He is risen!

 

The Maronite Monks of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph+

April 14th, 2019 – Palm Sunday

Dear friends of MMJMJ,

 

We pray this Lent has been fruitful and peaceful for you and your families. If any of you didn’t have the chance to fulfill all you’d hoped during this Lent, remember that God never wishes for us to be discouraged. Whether we believe our Lent to have gone well or less than well, we can entrust all to Him and “fix our gaze on Jesus” as we follow Him into the events of this holiest of weeks.

 

It is important for us to grow in our realization of how God has lowered Himself in order to save us. Indeed, Christ “humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:8) Christ Jesus, the Father’s Son, lowered Himself to the furthest extent possible to reach us. What a tremendous love He has for each one of us, a love so great that it that impelled Him to the cross.

 

In this Holy Week, let us draw near to Jesus in His descent and saving Passion. We may find strength to stand at the side of Mary, after having walked alongside her in discipleship. At the foot of the cross, with contrite and humbled hearts, we may look upon Him Whom our sins have pierced, and our hearts be enlarged to receive His love.

 

As an old hymn beautifully conveys,

 

“A broken heart, a fount of tears;

ask and they will not be denied.

A broken heart loves cradle is,

Jesus our love is crucified.”

 

Dear friends, in these special days, may God grant each of us these graces and a closer union with Him. We pray that you and your families may be blessed during this Holy Week, and that Christ may lead you through His saving passion to the joy of His Resurrection. God be with all of you, and may He grant you peace of heart, mind, and soul.

 

Maronite Monks of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph +

March 25th 2019: the Feast of the Annunciation


Dear Friends of JMJ,
 

A Blessed Eve of the Feast of the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel to Our Blessed Mother, March 25th.

We celebrate today what all the heavens and earth had been awaiting, for centuries, with bated breath. The young Virgin from Nazareth was asked by the messenger of God if she would be the mother of our Savior. Her “Yes” rang out through the mysterious depths of the universe, and at that very moment the Holy Spirit overshadowed her, placing in her womb the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity: The Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 

In that moment, the Eternal Son crossed through the veil of time and space to enter, personally and physically, the pure womb of our Blessed Mother. For nine months and ever after, Mary thus literally became the living tabernacle for the Divine Lord.
 

According to one vein in the Catholic Church’s tradition of Scriptural and liturgical interpretation, the day of March 25th is considered to be both a day of grace and blessing, and a day of “doom”—that is to say, of great fate or destiny.
 

Tradition has assigned to this day truly fateful events in the history of humanity’s salvation. For example, with this day is associated the creation of our first parents, Adam and Eve. It is also considered to be the day on which they disobeyed God in the garden at the deceitful prompting of the serpent.

March 25th, also, is associated by this vein of ancient tradition with the intended sacrifice of Isaac at the hand of his father Abraham, a sacrifice which was interrupted by God, who instead provided an animal in his place. This day, too, is believed to be the very day on which Our Lord was crucified, in the 33rd year of his life.
 

Though March 25th may not have been the precise historical date for each one of these events, we can greatly benefit from pondering their connection. At the Annunciation, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father from eternity, became the Son of Mary in time. He is the new Adam, who in obedience to his Father accepts even death on the Cross, and the Lamb of sacrifice provided for our salvation.
 

The entire history of human salvation centers in the meaning of this event, which is tied with the Cross. Today we celebrate the beginning of our Lord’s sacrificial life, in the moment when Mary, a simple peasant girl of 14 or 15 years, freely accepted the mission of bearing in her womb the Son of God, our Savior Jesus Christ.

In the immense grace and mystery of Mary’s “Yes,” we hold you all in our prayers,

The Monks of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Christmas  2018

Dear Friends,

 

Christ is born! Let us glorify Him!

 

Today we celebrate the birth of the Son of God our Savior of Mary, according to the novena prayer of St. Andrew, “at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold.”

 

We remembered each of you in prayer, who are special to our Father and in his Son are the beloved of His Heart, this Christmas Eve and Morning in the Holy Mysteries and liturgical prayers of our monastery.

 

This day of the feast of Christmas we celebrate the goodness of God towards us in revealing His love to us, the love of a Father for us, His children.

 

We experience the joy of being at the crèche of our Lord, and the anticipation of going forward into the good things that God has prepared for us.

 

Not only this one day of Christmas, but for all the days leading up to the feast of Epiphany, on which we celebrate the baptism of our Lord Jesus, may we receive the gifts that God wishes to give, and give what He is asking of us, so that we may receive Him in us more deeply.

 

For this day, a Savior has been born to us, and into us, such that we know Him to be Emmanuel, God with us. And we know God’s love for us, because in His Son He has given us of His spirit, through which we truly call out to Him in our hearts, Abba, Father!

 

See what love the Father has given us!

 

May God bless and keep all of you in the intimacy of the Holy Family, with Mary and Joseph, the holy angels, the poor shepherds, in adoring reverence of the Christ child who is born unto us and in us!

 

Christ is born! Let us glorify Him!

 

 

In gratitude for His greatest gift,

 

The Maronite Monks of Jesus, Mary and Joseph +

August 2018

Feast of the Transfiguration 2018

 

“Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.” (Mk 9:7)

 

 

Dear friends of MMJMJ,

 

Blessed and Holy Feast of Transfiguration!

 

This feast holds special meaning for all of us as followers of Christ, and rich matter for contemplation. In this feast, the glory of the Son is revealed to us. We hear the voice of the Father calling us to draw close to the Son. In drawing close, we become more complete and intimate sharers in His glory.

 

This is God’s will for us: that as disciples of Christ, and as sons and daughters of the Father, we may radiate the victorious light of Christ in the midst of a dark world, and thereby draw others to Him.

 

As St. Paul tells us: “all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:18)

 

This presents the purpose of God the Father in His desire for each of us to look to the Son and listen to Him in prayer. As we draw near to Him in contemplation, the Holy Spirit transforms our hearts, minds, and souls to resemble Christ. Moreover, the darkness of sin and death is transfigured into the goodness, truth, and beauty of the Son. The Transfiguration thereby displays the marvelous and certain transformation effected by Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.

 

A final thought from St. Francis de Sales encourages us to indeed listen like children to the words that our Father speaks. In his Introduction to the Devout Life, Francis writes:

 

“Children learn to speak by hearing their mother talk, and stammering forth their childish sounds in imitation; and so if we cleave to the Savior in meditation, listening to His words, watching His actions and intentions, we shall learn in time, through His Grace, to speak, act and will like Himself.”

 

 

By growing daily in faithful listening to Christ, may our hearts grow to become like His own. Thus, throwing open the doors of our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit, may we say with Mary, “Yes” to the astonishing love of our Father.

 

--

 

Thank you all for your faithfulness to the work of God. In regard to the buildling in Castle Rock, we are praying earnestly to God with you for the funds to complete the project, as we anticipate in hope the finishing of our new home, as our Father wills and as He knows best. May He give each and all of you the courage to take one step and then another towards and with Him in faith.

 

 

God love you,

 

The Monks of Jesus, Mary and Joseph +

Easter 2018

Holy Week 2018

Dear friends of MMJMJ,

 

Mshee-hod Qom!

Christ is risen!

 

An especially treasured icon in the Eastern Christian tradition depicts the Lord’s descent into Sheol. In this icon, our Lord, as He stands on the doors of Sheol, reaches out His nail-pierced hand to Adam, to raise Him out of Sheol and take him to heaven. This image vividly reminds us of what our Lord’s Resurrection means for us: Christ, through His Resurrection, pulls us from the darkness of sin and death and brings us to new Life in Him.

Adam is our first father, and he, together with Eve, represents each one of us, as St. Paul writes: “in Adam all die.” Christ, however, also represents each of us, with Mary, in His renewed humanity, as Paul continues, “so too in Christ shall all be brought to life.”

The true meaning of Christ’s death for us is beautifully expressed in the Hymn of Light written by St. Ephrem, which we sing with a renewed joy at Easter: “He came to rescue us from darkness, and to fill us with the radiance of His light.” Because of this light of Christ, we truly realize in faith that, as the next line proclaims, “day is dawning upon us, the power of darkness is fading away.”

Mary helps us to experience this reality – for who knew the joy of Easter better than her? She understood the greatness of the work of Christ, and through His resurrection she soared out of unfathomable depths of sorrow to equally unfathomable heights of joy—joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1).

May we experience the joy of Mary at the resurrection of her Son and Lord, Jesus Christ. We pray for you that the joy of this blessed and glorious season of Resurrection would radiate to every corner of our ordinary daily lives. The ordinary moments of our lives are filled with opportunities, as they were for Mary, in many little ways and in bigger ways as well, to say “yes” to our loving God, Who invites us to the joy of new life. Thus – as our Lord desires – may the joy of this season be the true, even if at some times hidden, meaning of all the seasons of our lives.

Christ is risen – truly He is risen!

We again renew our prayers for all of you this day and throughout this Season, and hold each of you and yours before the Heart of God.

God be with you,

The Monks of Jesus, Mary and Joseph +

Holy Week 2018

Holy Week  2018

 

Dear friends of MMJMJ,

As we enter into this holiest of weeks and conclude the season of Lent, we want to share with you a few thoughts of reflection. This Lent we chose to adopt a theme taken from the words of our Lord to His three closest apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane:

Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even unto death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” (Mt. 26:38)

In particular, we took as our theme this Lent the last three words: “watch with me.”

The invitation by our Lord to keep watch with Him does not only call us to consider the intensity of His suffering and death, but even more to consider why He wished to suffer. Jesus desired to suffer and die for one reason, and one reason only: out of love for each one of us.

Because of His great love, the death of Jesus, the sinless One, saves me from sin and death, and frees me to live for, with and in Him. Because of His love, Jesus died so that I might love Him. This is the meaning of Jesus’ saying:

 

And when I am lifted up...I will draw all men to myself. (Jn. 12:32)

 

Jesus longs to draw us to Himself. He longs for our love. So also, when He invites us to keep watch with Him, He calls us to His side, to His Heart, to become one with Him and to love Him. We are therefore with Him in His suffering, yes, but first of all we are with Him in His love. Jesus calls us to watch with Him because He desires the most intimate union with us.

 

By prayer, fasting and the sacrificial giving of ourselves to others, we learn to keep watch with Christ, and thus in love to work with Him, to bring souls to love Him.

Now, dear friends and family, together following Him in the events of the Passion, may we discover anew the joy of staying awake with Christ this day through the experience of the love, the burning love for us sinners that moved Him to suffer all things—the agony, the scourging, the crowning with thorns, the carrying of the cross, with the shame, the bitterness, the offenses that He endured, and finally death—for our sake.

 

Then may we, in love,

 

Behold the Heart which has so loved us, and been loved so little in return.

May you remain closely bound to the Heart of Christ this Holy Week. Know that throughout our prayers and vigils this week we will be holding you close to the Heart of God.

 

In the love of the Holy Family,

 

The Maronite Monks of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

Christmas 2017

Dear friends of MMJMJ,

Our reflections in preparation for the feast of Christmas are many and rich in the Monastery of the Sacred Heart. Allow us to share the following brief reflection with you:

The mystery of Christmas teaches us that we are not just close to Jesus, yet outside Him; we are not just like Jesus, yet different from Him due to our sinfulness. No, we are not just close to Him or like Him. Rather, we are truly in Him, and He is in each of us! Says St. Paul, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal 2:20) Christ within us – THIS is the gift of Christmas! To be, in Jesus, true children of our Father! This is the first and greatest gift we receive “under the tree” at Christmas!

Can we spend too much time marveling at the greatness of this gift?

Dear family and friends of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may the joy and peace of the newborn Son of God radiate from within the very heart of our homes, and from within the very depths of our souls!

Sweet child Jesus, remember each of our friends for whom we pray. This day and night, this Christmas day and night, be with us; every day be with us, so that every day we may be filled with the joy of Christmas, with the joy of your coming, with the joy of your being our Savior, Emmanuel, God with us.

Amen. +

Holy Week 2017

Dear friends of MMJMJ,

 

A short season nearly passed, and we now face the conclusion of Lent. Now we prepare to follow His Son in heart and spirit as He journeys to Jerusalem in this holiest of weeks. Recalling our theme for this Lent –look upon Him, our Beloved Lord – we unite our gaze with that of our Blessed Mother as we remember all that Christ suffered for our salvation. In light of that theme, we attend again to the words He spoke to His disciples on Holy Thursday in the Garden of Gethsemane:

 

 

Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

 

 

Jesus calls to His disciples in his agony to watch and to pray along with Him. No doubt He is calling us to do the same. This is, in fact, the continual call of the disciple of Christ, the life we all have been given. How do we watch with Jesus? How do we pray? Jesus bids us all to remain close to Him, and not to “fall asleep” – that is, not to grow slack or negligent in love of Him. In the Garden, Christ looked with love upon His Father. In this continual gaze of love, Christ found the strength to undergo His Passion.

 

Looking upon Christ in this hour, we are drawn under the gaze of the Father. The call to “watch and pray” with Christ brings us to the very heart of life’s mystery, and in the face of great suffering and evil, which Christ suffered completely for us on His Cross.

 

Simon Peter was among those who failed to stay awake. Later in his life, St. Peter wrote these words: “Be sober, be vigilant, for your adversary the devil prowls about seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Pet 5:8) Peter had learned through his failure in that hour of tremendous need the lesson at the heart of Christian discipleship.

 

Our unfailing security in the spiritual life is to remain close to Christ, under the gaze of the Father. If, moreover, with His Blessed Mother, we trust and keep our eyes on Him, learning to remain vigilant in prayer; then

we will have the strength in the hour of adversity, as well as in times of sweetness and consolation, to be faithful to Him.

 

Through Christ we anticipate many blessings soon to come our way. May we learn to pray, watch and be ready to receive the gifts of God in the time and manner that our loving Father wishes to give them. Finally, we would not fail if we called more constantly upon the Holy Spirit for His guiding presence and light.

 

God bless all of you this Holy Week. We have prayed for you, our friends, throughout this Lent. Now we prepare ourselves in hope to enter the astounding joy of Easter. As we conclude our Lenten journey with the Passion of our Lord, let us fix our eyes on Christ, who with His Father looks constantly upon us with love. May He strengthen and lead us through His victorious Crucifixion all the way to His glorious Resurrection.

 

Thank you for assisting in the work of God to form this monastery.

 

 

In the love of the Holy Family,

 

The Maronite Monks of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

Lent 2017

March 8th, 2017

 

Dear friends of MMJMJ,

 

As we continue our Lenten journey, many of us are seeking to live our answer to the questions we asked at the beginning of this holy season, namely, What am I giving up? How am I going to sacrifice? These are no doubt important questions, especially in this year, the one hundredth year anniversary of Our Blessed Mother’s apparition to the three children at Fatima, where Our Lady urged Lucia, Francesco and Jacinta to pray and make sacrifice for souls. The occasion leads us to a deeper question. Why does our Mother ask us to make sacrifices? And, how do we offer ourselves through Her to her Son?

 

In Lent we unite ourselves more closely to Christ, in particular in His passion, suffering, and cross, in view of the principle laid forth in scripture: “If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him.” St. Paul also writes in his letter to the Philippians, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” This aspiration, a holy longing, is what gives meaning and purpose to our Lenten sacrifice.

 

Our theme at the monastery this year is simple, and we invite you to share in it with us:

“Look upon Him whom they have pierced.” (Zech. 12:10)

 

We look upon Christ, fixing our gaze on Him, who was crucified and rose from the dead for us. In the total self-gift of Christ, we come to know the depth of His love for all and each one of us. In truth, we remember that we can only gaze upon Him because He first looked upon us. We “love because He first loved us.” With our theme, we remember this all–important truth, the foundation of our faith and of all life. If we remain present under the loving gaze of Christ, we are moved with holy desire to clear our hearts, minds, and lives of what is contrary to this love. Our aim comes more and more to be animated by his love in everything we do, for everything we do is seen by Him and anticipated by His love. In other words, our life is a gift from his pierced heart. For the pursuit and realization of this theme, we ask our Blessed Mother to unite the eyes of our hearts with hers, so that, this Lent, as we gaze upon Christ, we may enter more deeply into the ocean of His love – and share that love with those whom God has put in our lives.

 

In this holy season of Lent, we also have some exciting news to share: We have a new solemnly professed Monk and Deacon! Last month, Father Deacon John Michael made his solemn profession, and the following day, was ordained a Deacon by Bishop Elias A. Zaidan at the Cathedral of our Lady of Lebanon. We are very blessed, and grateful to God for these tremendous graces He has given to our Monastery and to the Church as a whole.

 

We are grateful for your prayers and support. Be assured that we remember you daily at the altar, lifting you and yours with your holy intentions to the Father who in his Son has given us his love. May you have a blessed and fruitful Lent, fixing your gaze upon Christ in union with the loving gaze of his Mother, that you may at season’s end know more fully the joy of His Resurrection.

 

The Peace of Christ be with you all,

 

The Maronite Monks of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph